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Shot Heard 'Round the World

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by mac66, Feb 4, 2013.

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  1. xXxplosive

    xXxplosive Member

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    And by the time the British columns started their retreat back to Boston from Concord, they found themselves surrounded at times by militia cos. from through out Mass. and being fired upon.. the Alarms went out and our "Minute Men" responded...at the hight of it, 4,000 militia troops had the British military held at bay in Boston.
     
  2. mac66

    mac66 Member

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    Part 12-The Challenge

    Col. Smith's troops had reached Menotomy (modern day Arlington) just a few miles from Lexington when 8 of his officers rode up. Smith called a halt while he listened to them explain that they had caught Paul Revere and that there was 500 militia in town. No, they hadn't seen them themselves because they had taken a wide berth around Lexington to avoid detection but they had heard the musket fire and the bell ringing the alarm.

    Smith's troops themselves had heard bells in each town they passed through. They had heard shots off in the distance alerting the country side as they marched. He knew that there presence was known but was sure the colonists didn't know the purpose.

    Turning to Major Pitcairn, his second in command, Smith ordered his royal marines to the head of the column. Pitcairn's marines, essentially light infantry, were to proceed as fast as they could in advance of the main body to Concord and carry out the mission.

    As the marines advanced on Lexington, Capt. Parker was suddenly made aware of one of his scouts returning to town. The scout reported that he had been trapped behind the column in Cambridge and only managed to get around them when they stopped in Menotomy. He reported that they were only a mile or so out and moving fast. Parker immediately ordered young Diamond to beat assembly. The men filed out of their houses and the Buckman Tavern and formed up again at the west end of the green.

    About this time Paul Revere walked into town from his ordeal on the road. Talking to Capt. Parker he was shocked to learn that Hancock and Adams were still in town. Revere immediately ran to Rev. Clark's house and confronted the reluctant Hancock who wanted to stay and fight. Revere explained that if he was killed or captured it would be devastating blow to the cause. He must leave, NOW!

    Hancock finally agreed to go. Urged on by Sam Adams they packed up and headed north out of town. Revere stayed behind and learned from Hancock's male secretary that all the papers from the provincial congress were in a trunk and still in his room at the Buckman Tavern. If those papers fell into the hands of the army, the cause and many people associated with it would suffer terribly. Revere determined to save the trunk.

    Lexington Green is a triangular shaped space about 100 yards long and 50 yards wide at it's north west end. The narrow point is toward the east where the meeting hall stood. The road from Boston split at the meeting hall. The right fork going past Buckman Tavern across the street from the hall and continuing at a north west angle skirting the green. The left fork swung straight west to Concord.

    Parker's men in the meantime were formed at the wide end of the green. They were nervous and uneasy, not knowing what to expect. A few grumbled about how it wasn't worth it and talked about leaving. Parker said, "the first man to leave will be shot dead." These were his own friends and family standing with him. Most of them knew he meant it. The fear of Parker humiliating them and perhaps shooting them in front of their families was worse than the fear of the redcoats. They remained steadfast.

    As the dawn broke the sounds of many men on the road to the east became apparent. Revere and Hancock's secretary had reached Buckman Tavern and were wrestling with the heavy trunk. Jonathon Harrington's cousin Caleb, John Simmons and another man were on the second floor of the meeting house watching as the royal marines came into view on the road to the east.

    Major Pitcairn had put one of his firebrand lieutenants at the head of his column. Lt. Jesse Adair rode ahead and noticed men at the far end of the green in the early morning light. His mission was to go to Concord but he was itching for a fight and wanted to teach these insolent farmers a lesson. As his men reached the fork in the road he made a fateful decision to confront the men on the green. He lead his two hundred men onto the right fork and then onto the green. He immediately formed them into battle lines.

    Paul Revere had seen the approach of the marines. He and Hancock's secretary barely got out the back door of the tavern when the marines spilled past them intent on forming on the green. Staying behind the tavern, he made his way behind the buildings skirting the road to the treeline as the troops formed their ranks.

    Seeing the ranks of soldiers spilling onto the green, the 70-80 man militia heavily outnumbered, took an involuntary step backward. Capt. Parker shouted to his men, "Stand your ground men. Do not fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here!"

    to be continued...
     
  3. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    Dude I don't have any fingernails left.
     
  4. Bobson

    Bobson Member

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    Man this is intense. Beats any historical movie I've ever seen.
     
  5. xXxplosive

    xXxplosive Member

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    In the words of a historian deeply infused with a sense of the significance of this move stated "They stood there, not merely as soldiers but as citizens, nay, almost as statesmen, having the destiny of the country in their hands"...

    from...The Lexington-Concord Rattle Road.
    Hour-by-Hour Account of Events
    Proceeding and on the History-Making Day
    April 19th 1775
     
  6. mikeasb

    mikeasb Member

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    Waiting....
     
  7. mac66

    mac66 Member

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    Part 13-The Fight

    Capt. Parker's men watched the redcoats form into battle formation some 70 yards away, their bayonets glinting in the early morning light.

    Major Pitcairn riding up from the column and swinging his pistol rode half the distance to the militia. He shouted at them "lay down your weapons, ye villains, ye rebels, lay down your arms and disperse!"

    Capt. Parker had made his point. Vastly outnumbered he turned to his men and told them to disperse. At the same time a shot rang out. Paul Revere would later testify that it sounded like a pistol shot as he retreated with the trunk of papers. Others reported it came from the side of the green from behind a wall. A loud sharp sound in an open space surrounded by buildings often bounces around making it hard to pinpoint. No one knows who fired that first shot but it is clear who fired the first shots. Without orders, the front line of the regulars opened up in an ragged volley. The second line advanced and poured a full volley into the militia as they scrambled away.

    Most of the men wounded were shot in the back. Jonas Parker, Capt. Parker's uncle took off his hat, threw it on the ground with his flint and ball. He defiantly stood his ground yelling "I shall not run". He was immediately knocked down by a musket ball. Prince Esterbrook was also knocked down latter to be helped off the field.

    The troops with their blood up ignored orders and charged the militia with the bayonet. Jonas Parker was bayoneted to death as he lay on the ground trying to reload his musket. They continued after all those who ran.

    Jonathon Harrington the fifer's uncle and namesake was shot in the back as he retreated. He rose back to his feet and collapsed again. Crawling on his hands and knees he made his way to the edge off the green. Falling into the arms of his horrified wife on their doorstep, he died as his children watched from the doorway.

    At the other end of the green, Caleb Harrington, the fifer's cousin and John Simmons were caught in the meeting hall as the redcoats swarmed on to the green. When the troops charged they attempted to make a run for it. They were seen by soldiers who fired upon them. Caleb was shot down and killed as he ran. Simmons was forced back into the meeting hall where he barricaded the door. The soldiers who fired upon him pounded on the door trying to gain entry. Simmons knew that if they entered they were likely to find the town's black powder supply stored on the second floor. He ran up the stairs as the troops broke down the front door and started searching for him. Picking up his musket, he thrust the muzzle into one of the barrels of powder. "They will pay a heavy price for the powder today" he said to himself as he cocked the hammer and said a prayer.

    The soldiers on the green still out of control were hunting down anyone they could find. Col. Smith back in the main column rode to the sound of the fighting and was shocked to see his troops rampaging through the town ignoring their officers. He quickly grabbed a drummer and had him beat to assembly. The men, more out of conditioning than duty began to respond.

    Back in the meeting house the soldiers reached the bottom of the stairs. John Simmons closed his eyes and began to squeeze the trigger. As they began to climb the stairs they heard the beat of the drum. Conditioned to react to the drum and without further thought, the soldiers wheeled around and exited the meeting house angry that the rebel they had chased into it would slip through their fingers.

    It took some time for the troops to reassemble. Their blood lust was up and they were reluctant to stop. Col. Smith finally got them into order and calling upon his officers told them the mission.

    Many of the officers realized that they had just fired without orders. They knew that their men had gone out of control and they would be held responsible for the deaths. There would be courts-martial and trials. The countryside would be up in arms over this atrocity. They had another 8 miles further west to travel and another 18 miles back to Boston though hostile territory. To continue would be folly.

    Col. Smith looked past the officers to the men. He and they were still charged up for the fight. He listened to the arguments of his officers and clearly stated that the mission would continue. Turning back to the men, he ordered three HUZZAHS and a volley of musket fire to celebrate the victory. Forming back into column they began the march west to Concord.

    Continued....
     
  8. Akita1

    Akita1 Member

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    +1 Mike
     
  9. JellyJar

    JellyJar Member

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    Wow!

    I love history and have read accounts of this many times yet now I am learning new things I never knew before.

    I hate waiting for the next installment! :banghead:
     
  10. mikeasb

    mikeasb Member

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    Jelly, Same here, I love American History but its the little details such as these that really bring it alive. Well told Mac66, thank you so much for taking the time...
     
  11. xxjumbojimboxx

    xxjumbojimboxx Member

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    "The soldiers who fired upon him pounded on the door trying to gain entry. Simmons knew that if they entered they were likely to find the town's black powder supply stored on the second floor. He ran up the stairs as the troops broke down the front door and started searching for him. Picking up his musket, he thrust the muzzle into one of the barrels of powder. "They will pay a heavy price for the powder today" he said to himself as he cocked the hammer and said a prayer."


    Forget TNT, Mac66 knows drama.
     
  12. mac66

    mac66 Member

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    Part 14- The Aftermath

    Capt. Parker stood looking at the dead and wounded. He looked past the green to the houses and the heard the lament of the women and families who lost loved ones. He saw the women scurrying about taking anything of value and burying it in their gardens. They knew that the column had continued west and would come back through Lexington. They knew there would be reprisals against the town for standing up to the king's troops. They knew there would be pillaging and plundering.

    Parker also knew that if he didn't hide the bodies of those who were slain, the army would dig them up, and hang them out of spite as a warning. His men would take the dead to the edge of the burial grown and dig a ditch. They would bury the dead including his uncle Jonas in the ditch and then cover the grave with leaves, branches and brush to hide it. He knew that the fight wasn't over and he began to prepare to avenge the attack on his town.

    Young Jonathon Harrington couldn't stop crying. He had lost his uncle and his cousin. He had seen his friends and neighbors shot down. Of the 9 sets of fathers and sons on the green, 5 were separated by death.

    The day had just begun. No one knew what would transpire that day or how it would end. They did know that by standing up for their liberty the spark of revolution had been lit.

    continued...
     
  13. DDeegs

    DDeegs Member

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    Awesome ! Thank you

    Dan
     
  14. mac66

    mac66 Member

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    Epilog

    We all know the story doesn't end in Lexington. In fact it was just beginning. At Appleseed we tell the story in three parts. The other two stories are as intriguing as this one if not more so. I've told these stories dozens of times and I wrote this one based on memory. It took a bit of effort to condense the events down into a story form so I am not going to do the other two parts.

    Sorry, you'll have to go to an Appleseed to hear the rest or contact Appleseed or me to come to your group and tell you the story. It is well worth it.

    I did want to throw out some interesting tidbits about what happened to some of the people in the story I just told.

    If you recall, Dr. Joseph Warren found out the details of the raid on Concord through someone high up in Gen. Gage's command. That person is thought to have been Gage's wife. Margaret Kimble Gage was American born and her high status in society put her in contact with many people including Dr. Warren. It was pretty evident who gave Warren the information and she paid a heavy price. After the battle, Gen. Gage put her on a ship ferrying wounded back to England. They reportedly never lived under the same roof again.

    Dr. Warren was a widower with 4 young children yet he spent most of his time working for the cause. While the British were fighting their way back from Concord, he rode out and connected with the militia near Lexington. Despite have no military experience he distinguished himself in such close contact with the enemy that he was offered a Generalship after the battle. At one point a musket ball cut a hair lock (ribbon that held back his long hair) on his head.

    Warren refused the rank saying he hadn't earned it. In June of that year he was fighting as a private but in command of a delaying action on Bunker Hill. They were holding off the British advance until the militia could retreat. He was killed on the last charge up the hill by the British. Sadly Dr. Warren who is relatively unknown today, would likely have gone down in history of one of our great founding fathers, perhaps even a president had he lived.

    Major Pitcairn
    , the officer who led his marines on Lexington Green was dismounted from his house on the way back to Boston later in the day. His horse and horse pistols were captured by the militia and used by a Colonial general the rest of the war. Pitcairn also fought on Bunker Hill in June. He was wounded in the last charge that took the hill and killed Dr. Warren. Pitcairn died in the arms of his son who was a Lieutenant in the royal marines.

    Fifer Jonathon Harrington survived Lexington and went on to enlist in the Colonial Army. He fought in many battles and survived the war. He lived to a ripe old age.

    William Diamond, the Lexington drummer also survived the battle. He also enlisted and survived the war. He became a prominent citizen. Ten thousand people came to his funeral when he died.

    Capt. John Parker
    was sick from tuberculosis when he stood his ground at Lexington on April 19th. Later in the day he would lead his militia west and get his revenge against Col. Smith. He died in August of that year from the disease.

    Col. Francis Smith
    was wounded later in the day. He was eventually shipped back to England.

    Dr. Samuel Prescott rode to Concord after he escaped from the officers on the road. He warned the town and they sent out other riders to spread the word. His brother Able was one of the riders.and was killed later in the day at the south bridge while trying to return to town. Samuel Prescott never married his fiance'. He enlisted as a ship's surgeon and was captured. He died of disease aboard a filthy prison barge up in Canada two years later. Without a word from him or about him Lydia Mulligan waited 7 years for him to return.

    William Dawes, the other rider out of Boston never made it to Concord. Upon escaping outside of Lexington, he rode until he was thrown from his horse losing his pocket watch in the process. Battered, bruised and frightened, he decided he had had enough. He turned around and limped back to Boston. He later went back and found his watch.

    Prince Esterbrook
    was wounded but survived the Lexington battle. He signed on for a number of short term militia enlistments and then in the Continental Army. He and hundreds of other slaves served in the first integrated army and the last until the Korean war. Esterbrook survived the war and was freed for serving as were many others. Their service in the revolution was the seed that grew into the abolitionist movement in the New England states after the war.

    Dr. Benjamin Church was a prominent physician in Boston and in charge of the security committee for the Massachusetts provincial congress. He was in charge of the colonial secrets and security of John Hancock and Sam Adams. He was also a spy for Gen. Thomas Gage. It was Church who compiled a list of the guns and powder/supplies stored in Concord and the whereabouts of Hancock and Adams. It wasn't ideology that made him give secrets to the British general it was greed. Church had a wife and also kept a mistress. He spent his money poorly and was always in debt.

    On April 20th, the day after the events at Lexington and Concord Church was seen easily passing through the gate into Boston. Boston was now besieged by 14,000 militia and the British army was holding the city. Church was contacted by Paul Reveres' wife who gave him a note and 200 pounds (a huge sum of money) to give to Paul who needed money to live on outside the city. Paul never got the money and the note was found in Gen. Gage's papers after the war.

    People became suspicious of how Church could pass in and out of the city so easily. After the British evacuated Boston, Church was arrested and imprisoned. He was later banished from the colonies. The ship he got on to go to England never reached it's destination and was never seen again.

    Paul Revere served throughout the war as an artillery officer. He was overlooked several times for higher rank and didn’t see much action which frustrated him. He went on to do his metal work and eventually started a foundry that made bells and became very successful. His greatest fame and what he is most remembered for came after his death as a result of Longfellow’s poem, ’The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere’.

    General Thomas Gage
    continued to command the British army until relieved about a year later. He went back to England to wait out the war but never returned.
     
  15. Jesse 8

    Jesse 8 Member

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    Thank you for sharing this
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2013
  16. iamkris

    iamkris Member

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    And just think...this is just the FIRST STRIKE. There's 2 more plus a bunch of other stories of choices, decisions and sacrifices of the actors that day!

    You all should come out to an Appleseed to hear this and many other other tales of our common American heritage!

    (mac -- this is SteelThunder)
     
  17. PGT

    PGT Member

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    gread read, thanks for sharing.
     
  18. krupparms

    krupparms Member

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    As a history reader I know these stories well. I didn't know that passing them along was part of the Appleseed program. I will be getting in touch ASAP. Thank you very much for telling the story so well! You have the gift of being a true story teller. Thank you . :)
     
  19. iamkris

    iamkris Member

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    krupparms

    We in Appleseed pride ourselves in working to wake up Americans to their rich heritage. We always say that the shooting is the hook but the real message is in the history.
     
  20. Bobson

    Bobson Member

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    I wonder how the version taught in England's schools compares to the version we're taught. I expect there are some noteworthy differences.
     
  21. xXxplosive

    xXxplosive Member

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    Let us all hope History does not have to repeat it'self............
     
  22. mac66

    mac66 Member

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    Some final words...

    These were real people who faced tough decisions with far reaching consequences. They built this country with their own hands. They cleared the fields and had an intimate relationship with it's well being. People today don't have that sense of being an American. They don't have a sense of why we are the way we are or how we came to be that way. Americans tend to be lazy, ignorant and apathetic particularly about our history. We owe those people in the story a debt we can never repay but at least what we can remember and respect what they did.

    So if you liked this story, spread it around (give Appleseed the credit www.appleseedinfo.org) Tell friends and family. Come to an Appleseed to hear more and support us getting the story back out to every American. Ask someone from Appleseed to come and make a free presentation, most libraries will give you a room. There is no agenda and we are not political. We are just trying to rekindle the flame of liberty that burned so brightly in the breasts of those people, on that day, April 19th, 1775.

    feel free to contact me about a presentation, I will try and hook you up.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2013
  23. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Member

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    Ahem.... Fort Constitution if you would please :)

    it's still there... right next to the coast guard station.... free for the visiting.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2013
  24. mac66

    mac66 Member

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  25. hammerklavier

    hammerklavier Member

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    Paul Revere also produced many of the brass fittings for a ship we know today as "Old Ironsides," the USS Constitution.
     
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